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40 Miler

Posted by cavewomanrunner on July 13, 2009

Our team of three runners (“Three’s a Crowd”) finished our 40 mile relay race! I had the first and longest leg, 20 miles. Then the last 20 miles were split in two. The race started at 5:30 a.m., which was nice to beat the heat but not so nice to get up at 3:00 a.m. It was a 30 minute drive to the race (held out in the middle of nowhere) and I needed to get my pre-run baby food and organic bar. It was still dark when we arrived (my boyfriend and mom were the “support vehicle” – thank you again!) and only a few ultra marathoners were lined up. It was a low key start (ready, set, go) and then we were on our way.

The pack thinned fairly fast. I passed a few folks, some passed me. An older gentleman was walking/running. He passed me twice and then I didn’t see him again. The first five miles were flat, and then the big climb up 2000 feet started until  mile 10. I was prepared for this hill, having trained on hills and also knowing the course mentally. I was worried about the elevation (the race start was about 2000 feet higher than the town I live and train in) plus I had developed a nasty cold (that usually happens right before a big race).

The big hill in this race felt like it would never end! It twisted and turned and just when you thought it couldn’t keep going up, there was more! I was never so happy to get to the top of a hill and start the downhill. Then I felt like I was flying. The big hills were also surrounded by huge windmills. It was so peaceful running early in the morning with windmills, cows, and birds the only movements around you.


Then my flight was over – another hill. I was not prepared for how many hills were on the other side of the ten miles. My breathing and everything else except my legs felt great (and my nose that was running faster than I was). The big hill had taken its toll.

I only had one other runner pass me on the hills. She was a runner in her 40s who ran the entire 40 miles and finished only  a few minutes behind our team. I was so happy to turn the baton over to the next runner after my 20 and wished him well. It was nice to just relax in the support vehicle and cheer the other two runners on. They passed at least three of the runners in front of me – something I could never have done. In the end we finished in about 6:28 (average of 9:42 minute miles). I did my 20 miles in about 3:32 (10:36 minute miles). I’ll take that considering all the hills!

We all three ran the last half mile or so – I was amazed my body could move, but it actually felt pretty good. Waiting at the fininsh line was ice cream cones. The 40 year old woman crossed the finish line and went and got ice cream for her family and then for herself. Maybe that’s her specialized training! I don’t think I could eat ice cream after a race like that, or any training runs!

The greatest thing about this race, though – I wasn’t that sore! I had my Paleo recovery shake after my run and then after the team finished, a nice big salad with my boyfriend and parents. My feet were sore, but by the next day, I felt great! It’s a wonderful feeling when your training and diet pay off for a great run!


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